Tepaki stands by Pacific Reset opinion

Friday September 21, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor
Chinese ambassador the Ambassador for the People’s Republic of China to the Cook Islands, pictured at the opening of Apii Nikao back in May this year. The school was built thanks to what prime minister Henry Puna described as a $14 million ‘gift’ from China. 18092028 Chinese ambassador the Ambassador for the People’s Republic of China to the Cook Islands, pictured at the opening of Apii Nikao back in May this year. The school was built thanks to what prime minister Henry Puna described as a $14 million ‘gift’ from China. 18092028

Dear Editor,

 

I was warned by hackers on the coconut wireless that the big boys will be coming to damage me and wow, the New Zealand High Commissioner himself.

They don’t come any bigger than that do they?

I am of course referring to High Commissioner Peter Marshall’s letter of September 19, headlined “Tepaki called to task over incorrect assertions”, responding to my letter of September 17, headed “Weird financial seascape washes region”.

Noted that he claimed two of my assertions were incorrect, the first being my assertion that New Zealand’s recently-announced increased aid to the Pacific Region was at the behest of the USA and the other being my assertion that New Zealand had asked China for $917 million concessional finance to fund its recently-announced Pacific reset initiatives.

It’s interesting that he tells readers that I was incorrect in these assertions and stops short of saying why, suggesting instead that anyone is welcome to call on the High Commission if the facts are required. Might it be that the facts sitting at the High Commission can neither confirm nor deny my assertions, as they are classified?

I think the High Commissioner should spell out where I was incorrect in my assertions, because the public has the right to know if I was incorrect and so do I, as the one who is damaged by his comments. Needless to say if I am wrong, I will apologise!

It seems to me there’s been enough articles in the media expressing concern over China’s increasing influence in our region. There’s one staring us in the face on the same page as the High Commissioner’s letter, headed “Penrhyn could the be prize China wants” and expressing that very concern! So let’s accept that concern over China’s rising influence in our region is fact and evidenced enough shall we?

On my assertion that Pacific Reset is at the behest of USA, may I suggest that readers check out the call made by a USA Senator a few months back for Australia and New Zealand to do more for Pacific Nations to counter China’s influence in the region. I would suggest that anyone tracking the events that followed, the Pacific Reset emerging and concessional finance being raised for that purpose, will draw the same conclusion I did!

As to my assertion about the Pacific Reset, may I suggest that readers check out CI News of  September 13, which quoted New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern saying that, “Ahead of the May budget, more than one billion dollars was pledged for the Pacific Reset policy, much of it for aid programmes in the Pacific”.

So I reckon either CI News is writing fake stories, or the High Commission is.

May I add that I don’t make assertions for no good reason and that there is always some rationale to my madness.

Yes, the New Zealand Government’s Pacific Reset initiative for our benefit is heartwarming stuff, but aiding us also reduces us to “leeches” as New Zealand’s talk show presenter Heather du Plessis-Allan has been saying, thus making us not only beneficiaries but victims of the reset initiative, doesn’t it? Check out the CINews of September 17.

May I also add that I and my fellow merchants at Merchant of Paradise know that our small nation is asset rich but cash poor, and believe we are the richest people on the planet per capita with our huge national waters full of wild fish and seabed littered with rare mineral nodules.

This makes our continuing dependency on New Zealand aid instead of developing our assets using concessional finance already set aside by China for that purpose, a sin!                           

            Tim Tepaki

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